Government Hospital Sacks Two Nurses For Wearing Hijab To Work

National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi Lagos (NOHIL) has sacked two female nurses for wearing hijab while on duty.

The nurses Mrs Fasilat Olayinka Lawal and Miss Sekinat Sanusi, relied on the prescription of their regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria which says nurses should either wear nurse cap or shoulder length hijab as contained in a circular dated February 11, 2002 (reference number N&MCN/CMF/721/1/3).

The circular which was signed by P. N. Ndatsu, Secretary General/Registrar was said to have been sent to all Directors of Nursing and their deputies, chief Medical Directors, chief Executives, and Principals.

In anticipation of the action of the hospital management, the victims approached the court to obtain injunction against further actions by the management of the NOHIL, But this did not deter the hospital management as the two nurses were sacked a few days ago.

Narrating how it happened, Mrs Lawal said she accepted the offer based on the circular of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria prescribing a shoulder length hijab which she expected the hospital to comply with.

When Vanguard contacted the Medical Director, NOHIL, Dr. O.Odunibi on phone for comments, he declined saying “the matter is already in court and we have been told not to comment on the matter.”

A senior Muslim nurse in the hospital who crave anonimity told Vanguard that they were not wearing hijab merely because no circular was given to them to that effect. She maintained that the development was an eye-opener to other Muslim nurses in the hospital.

“I assumed duty on February 25, 2014, at the commencement of the one month orientation, I was told to remove my hijab but I insisted presenting a copy of a circular from Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria to the head of Nursing Department, Mrs Adebowale, hence I was allowed to do the orientation wearing hijab,” Mrs Lawal said.

“I completed the orientation on March 23, 2014 and resumed duty fully in uniform on Monday March 24, 2014 and I was told that I was not properly dressed as I was using hijab and not a nurse cap.

“On April 8, 2014, I wrote a letter of protest to the Medical Director copying Minister for Health, Minister for State for Health and Board Chairman, National Orthopeadic Hospital Igbobi Lagos and Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.”

“On April 9, 2014, I was given a query dated April 8, 2014 to explain why disciplinary action should not be instituted against me for insubordination by not wearing Nurse uniform which I replied with a letter dated April 9, 2014 and since April 10, 2014 I have not been allowed to work or even sign the attendance register, we were told to stay outside the Director of Administrator’s office by the Chairman of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwife (NANNM).

“On April 11, 2014, we were given two letters, one from the Director of Administration summoning us to a disciplinary committee on Monday April 14, 2014 and another from the Assistant Director of Nursing calling our attention to some so called facts.

“On the April 14, 2014, we were at the panel/ disciplinary committee and was told to have a rethink of removing our hijab within 24hrs and get back to the committee the following day at 10:00am to avoid a disciplinary action taken against us.”

“We immediately sort a legal advice since we were determined not to remove our hijab and decided to proceed to court to stop any diciplinary actions taken against us and also seek redress on the violation on our fundamental human rights and be allowed to work and wear our hijabs without hindrance as permitted by Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, the only body permitted by law to regulate the Nursing Profession in Nigeria.

“We were further prevented from entering the ward and carrying out our official duty, we wrote another letter to the Medical Director in the afternoon of April 15, 2014 notifying him of the situation.”

“On April 17, 2014, a letter was written to the Medical Director by our Lawyer informing him of the implication of their actions of not allowing us to work and if the situation persists a contempt proceeding would be commenced against them. The situation continued that way without been allowed to work until April 23, 2014 when we were given a memo to appear before the Hospital Management Board by 10:00am.”

“We met with the board and was told that by not removing our hijab we have committed an act of insurbodination and disobedience which is punishable by the law of public service.

“We were asked if we were ready to retrace our steps by removing our hijab and we responded that we can not remove our hijab and moreso the matter is in court and we cannot take any further step without informing our lawyer.

“Later that day (April 23, 2014) we were issued a letter of termination of service,” she narrated.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria, MULAN, has described the termination of employment of the two muslim nurses as ‘wrongful dismissal’.

The Chairman of the association, Barrister Musadiq Adunni Sanni said the nurses have right to complain and also have the right to institute legal action if their fundamental human rights were infringed upon.

“It is wrongful dismissal. What I think they should have done is to wait on the court before taking a decision.”

“This is a labour matter and if the institution allows it, then the court will have to decide who is wrong.”

“I also think they don’t have respect for the rule of law and we are not happy that a Federal Institution like that would go that way.”

Speaking on a similar case of hijab involving a student who was punished because she wore hijab while in school, Barrister Sanni stated that although there is a proposal for out of court settlement, the condition was not favourable to the Muslims.

“Just last Tuesday, the state maintained that it only limited the use of hijab to the Mosque on Fridays during Jumat and also during Zhur and Asr prayers, but we are not happy with that; our interest is total use of hijab. We are still on it and we are going to argue our case insha-Allah,” he stressed. [Vanguard]


  1. Its now obviously d@ nigerian xtians are d worst in d world , d great enemy of islam and enemy of progress, nigeria belong to both Mosleems nd xtians but cos xtians hold most public post in d country they deny Mosleems their right. Even in europe , america, france , german , china no Mosleem is deprive of using hijab but nigerian xtians are the terrorists d@ causes almost problems in nigeria. They thought that they can stop the lighting of God with their mouth but God will fulfill his lighting even the xtians refuses .

  2. Its so sad that most christians are intolerance. Sometimes I wonder if the bible preaches against tolerance. The use of hijab has been in place long ago even before jesus was born and jesus does not condemn it but the westerners condemn it because they want our good women to dress naked like their prostitute women. Christians open your eyes and follow jesus instead of the westerners -oyinbo go finish u with civilization

  3. Ola or whatever u call urself,do u live in Nigeria?d sect wrecking havoc on d innocent citizenry belongs 2 which religion?secondly every Profession has it ethics and regulations and dress code is a substantial part of this!why don’t female muslim bankers wear their hijab 2 work?or doctors wearing hijab 2 hospital?what abt those in d armed forces!be mindful of whatever u write here cos ppl read every bit of it.And if u don’t know what 2 say keep quiet and don’t be an hypocrite!

  4. @kigsley. Did you read the story before you comment? An extract from the story read thus ” Mrs Lawal said she
    accepted the offer based on the circular of Nursing
    and Midwifery Council of Nigeria prescribing a
    shoulder length hijab which she expected the
    hospital to comply with. .. Which simply means the law permit the use of hijab. Kingsley u re just an example of intolerant Christian. You re not a follower of jesus but you follow the westerners who think we africans re monkey

  5. Kingsley! Dnt b too selfish here. Go bak n read d statement made by d so called nurses very well u can c hw deir ryt has been deprived. I urge d managmnt of dt hospital to cal bak dis innocent nurses bak in deir offices. Else dey’ll punish by d wrath of God!

  6. @ Kingsley u ve made ur point..every professional or dept has they way they let us not criticise what is right,if they can’t comply with the way nurses dresses they should quite their jobs now..layers has the way they appear in court,police has there own,military also has there own way..etc so u can’t tell me because they re muslims so they shld wear what ever they is not done that..@ola,umar,Tolerance think well b4 u post anything..

  7. Ola u’re a fool if we ar 2 talk abt who ar d evil doers in nigeria 2 day it’s d muslimz every where in d world if there is conflict it’s d muslimz respossible 4 it look @ d boko haram,alkeada,al-shabab d muslim brotherhood in egypt any where in d world if there is war it’s d muslimz if d hospital management said d women should nt use hijab if they knw there ways ar pure y didn’t they stop using it?

  8. Hnmmmm….Anyway I believe before the sack, there will gave them observation, first…secondly they’ll gave them Query before the sack…And there what they’re call dress code and Anticobe…is lessons for other people outside there….I feel sorry for them because there’s no job in Naija…

  9. Hmmm na wa wit evry tin happenin in nija, stupid muslim wud still open deir mouth 2 talk of useless hijab. Wen dey ar supose 2 save lif dey ill be battlin wit deir hijab lol vry soon female muslin police officers or army or banker wud want 2 start wearin hijab. N ola tohell wit u 2 say xtians are d teroriest in nigeria

  10. i lov Muslims but pls respect ursefs.hypocrisy is d basis of islam.dats y dey pray on d road sides,publicize deir fasts,walking on d road nd reading quran.look dnt eva insult Christianity cos ur religion is a confused,transitory n baseles.tank Jesus am no more a muslim.

  11. Pls everybody needs to βε̲̣ xtra ordinary carefull abt wht U̶̲̥̅̊ say,muslim brother nd 6ters out there pls dnt criticize Xtain.Every profession has deir dressing code, This is nursing we re talking abt shoulder length hijab or better stil cap if D̲̅ε̲̣γ̲ wnt deir hair to βε̲̣ open nd d hijab must βε̲̣ fold in d uniform,d nurses understand wht am sayin .Wen U̶̲̥̅̊ wnt to tk care of labour woman ind theater U̶̲̥̅̊ nid to βε̲̣ careful coz d patient may draw U̶̲̥̅̊ ѠȊ̝̊̅ℓ̲̣̣̣̥ℓ̲̣̣̣̥ d hijab or nt even labour woman alone bt other patient who re unconcious. Pls diz tin is for ur own gud as well bt a wise woman build her home.Let apply knowledge am also a nurse

  12. ola umar,i want t belief u ar learned,hs nigeria as a nation nt gotten enough trouble frm such kind of reasoing u hv pasted?pls young man stop alienating personal issue t religion.stop sawing seed of discord using religion, be patriotic,after all,in nigeria dare ar few believers who ar walking de gud path prescribe by de holy book bt many ar religionist,hp u ar nt of de later?

  13. W@ is d big in d@ hijab? D@ dey use in stealing, come to high institutions here in d north u will see four legs in hijab havin sex, sum will wear d hijab dey will not wear clothes hmmmm hypocrites

  14. If U̶̲̥̅̊ dnt wnt ur hair to βε̲̣ open den put on whith cap or d hijab ѠȊ̝̊̅ℓ̲̣̣̣̥ℓ̲̣̣̣̥ βε̲̣ d one of shoulder length one which U̶̲̥̅̊ can fold inside uniform bt I guess diz set of pple where using d longer size which is nt idle…pls remember dat Nursing..A dynamic profession!!Eje ka fi ogbon se gbogbo nkan coz I knw ur hubby ѠȊ̝̊̅ℓ̲̣̣̣̥ℓ̲̣̣̣̥ nt βε̲̣ happy dat U̶̲̥̅̊ re sack

  15. If xtains will follow d actual teaching of d Christ,d xtains wud ve no fight any Muslim,cos Jesus taught oness of God which is an Islamic.But xtains embraced Paul teaches & neglected that of Christ,expecting cheap salvation.If not xtains,who will believe God sent his only begotten son & die 4ur sins under d Roman’s paganism?So u guys ve to ease ur intolerance against Islam believers across d country.

  16. 4 starters its not an issue of religion its infringement of rights. And we gain nothing by criticizing one religion or the other but if d nurses r allowed under their guidelines to wear hijab I don’t c y they shld b sacked. 4 Tunde wat do u mean hijab is not allowed in public offices outside d country?it is either u haven’t been outside d country or don’t watch TV. Nurses in d US UK Canada wear shoulder length hijab n it does not affect their job.

  17. every profession has its own rule governing its functionalbility, so the issue human right abuse is not there, as far as they accepted to work in that profession let them obey the rule that governs it. we have female muslem being in different profession like lawyers, bankers, military & para military, pilot etc do they wear hijab?

  18. Hhmmm some xtians hv jst decided not to tolorate anything islamic. Despite d fact dt d apex regulatory nursing body released a memo years back allowoing women to use hijab up to shoulder level, yet dose ogas ovadere still had d got to stop ds muslim ladies frm using hijab. GOD will judge everyone.

  19. We have families that have both Christians and muslims,my aunt is a nurse and a muslim @ dat so, working 4 d last 24years as one, playing by your professional code makes your job dignified. Schooling in the North exposed me to some knowledge about the wearing of the Hijab. To my muslim friends who commented wrongly about Christianity,apologies 4 ur lack of understanding. We are not terrorist and will never be,cos those who practice sincerely we know them. Abuse is inevitable when ignorance is the order of the day.

  20. I think d minister shld call d medical director to order since it is nt his private hospital we a talking about he shld allow d regulating body to do their job.nurses wear short ijab in uch,lagos state @other hospitals own by govt so what is his stress their are other better things for him to do than disturbing workers that are employee like him or has he forgotten that he will d seat one day

  21. One thing I want you guys to know is that, objective and good leaders don’t place religions above humanity. Gov. Fashola is a muslim but he totally refuse hijab in public schools and some public offices, would you say he is anti-muslim? Most of the board members of National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi Lagos
    (NOHIL) are muslims which I think the MD is also. They are not anti muslims but they only have foresight that if they allow some to use them, it would be abused & correcting it in the future could cause kasala as you always know.

  22. It think Nigeria as a country is doomed with d type of comments people post when it comes to religious matter. You are no better the next person because you are a muslim or christian. it is the kind of person you are that matters. pls Nigerians let us raise beyond religious sentiments and move this nation forward.